“It was a very difficult journey:” This is how Inara Poghosyan, forcibly displaced from Artsakh, briefly describes the migration from Stepanakert to Yerevan in front of the eyes of the civilized world in her interview with Forrights.am.

On the way to forced deportation, she witnessed the most terrible thing. “One was carrying the body of a dead family member, another was carrying the body of someone who died on the road. There were cars that carried the body of a member of their household along with small children. It was an unbearable scene,” she says.

She was at work during the last Azerbaijani attack. Inara is a teacher. The 39-year-old woman taught mathematics at school No. 7 in Stepanakert, NK.

“I was at school when the war started. We started hearing voices from different directions. The parent of one of the students was a soldier; he called and said that there is trouble at the border,” despite the information from the frontline, she hoped that the enemy would not attack Stepanakert.

“I have three children. Two of them studied in the same school where I worked, and one was enrolled in a physics school, which was quite far away. I, as a teacher, could not leave my class: I took care of my class first. I organized and we went down to the basement. My husband found my middle daughter in the basement of the building next to the school. It was an indescribably chaotic situation. I stayed at school until the last parent came and took his or her child away,” she says and remembers that they spent harsh days in Artsakh starting from September 19.

“We somehow spent those days and there was the hapless announcement that we have to leave Artsakh. Perhaps that was the cruelest moment. During so many years of war, we had seen so many [terrible] things, but the moment when we had to leave was the most painful.”

Inara Poghosyan also engaged in social activities in Artsakh. Before leaving the homeland, she helped the citizens injured in the explosion of the gasoline warehouse.

“I am a member of “Hajk’s Generation” NGO. After the explosion, we got together with the president of our NGO and other members. Because most of the doctors had left, there was no medicine, we took what was in the houses and went to the children’s hospital where the victims of the explosion were. It was a terrible situation: everyone was burned… many people told about the rest.”

They were forcibly displaced from Stepanakert on September 29. “I couldn’t even imagine that another nation besides Armenians could live in Artsakh. In Stepanakert, when I saw the cars of Azerbaijani patrols, I understood that everything is in a very bad state. You cannot describe that scene in words: it is an indescribable pain, unbearable. I can’t imagine that I won’t return to Artsakh. The only hope that keeps us strong is that we will return… I live with that hope.”

Inara settled in Nor Kharberd with her family and relatives. She found a job. The family includes her husband, three children and her father-in-law. Before moving here, they also faced great difficulties in Yerevan.

“We couldn’t find a house, we were paying 20,000 AMD per day. I lived with my family in one apartment and my mother, father, and sister’s family lived in another apartment. They wanted 30 thousand per day from them. We lived like that for eight days. They didn’t make concessions,” she said, noting that so far only she has found a job; her husband, sister and sister’s husband still need jobs. They try to take care of their social needs with the support provided by the RA government, most of which only cover rent and utility bills.

What do you feel when you think about Artsakh, I asked Inara at the end of the interview. It was not possible for her to answer without tears. “Artsakh is my childhood, the most beautiful place I have ever been. Armenia is also our homeland, but there is a difference between it and the place of birth. It is very difficult to describe. I lived there the happiest days of my life, which I may never live again,” she says, wiping away tears.

Narek Kirakosyan

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